Lions-Vikings Preview: How Detroit Can Turn Around Close Week 5 Loss

Alexander Mattison

Getty Alexander Mattison runs over Jerry Jacobs of the Lions in 2021.

The Detroit Lions are getting set for a rematch against the Minnesota Vikings, and many might forget that in Week 5, that battle resulted in a close call at a win for Detroit.

Near the end of the game, the Lions managed to storm back and take a one-point lead. Unfortunately for them, though, their defense wilted and allowed Minnesota to kick the winning field goal as time expired. It was another heartbreaking loss for the Lions in a season full of them.

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Detroit, though, will be looking to rebound in Week 13, and might have a good chance to do so at home if they can find a way to reverse a few of the things that went wrong a few months back. How will the Lions pull off the win this time? Here’s a look at some of the key matchups they will need to turn around.

Justin Jefferson vs. Lions’ Cornerbacks

Detroit hasn’t had much of an answer for Jefferson at all since he suited up for the Vikings last year, and while he didn’t score a touchdown in the first meeting, he also put up a gaudy 124 yards and was dangerous most of the afternoon. While the Lions did a nice job on Adam Theilen, they can’t assume that Jefferson will be held without a score of any kind this time around, so the cornerbacks need to find a better way to operate on the top weapon. Here’s a look at Jefferson’s day:

Justin Jefferson's Highlights from Week 5 | Minnesota VikingsCheck out Justin Jefferson's best plays from the Week 5 matchup against the Detroit Lions. #MinnesotaVikings #Vikings #NFL #MN #Football #Skol Subscribe to the Minnesota Vikings YT Channel: For more Vikings videos: For more Vikings action: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Follow us on Instagram: Follow…2021-10-10T20:41:56Z

Most of those catches were pretty effortless, so it’s going to take a major blanket job by Detroit’s secondary to make sure he doesn’t erupt this time. Keeping Jefferson under 80 yards seems like it would be easier said than done, but if the team pulls it off, they could score a win.

Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Vikings’ Secondary

Conversely, Detroit got arguably the best game of St. Brown’s young career in Week 5. The rookie managed to go for 65 yards on the day and was Detroit’s leading receiver on the game. For weeks, the Lions have pondered how to get their offense going and specifically St. Brown. If there’s a way to exploit a good matchup against the Vikings, the team has to be very aware of it and try to exploit it. St. Brown is the kind of player who can operate well in the slot and with a quick passing game like the Lions have been shown to have. Exploiting this matchup and getting the ball to St. Brown against a team he had plenty of success against might make sense for Detroit.

Vikings Offensive Line vs. Lions’ Pass Rush

In the first meeting, the Lions had 2 sacks in the game, and for a team which doesn’t make getting after the quarterback a habit, the team’s defense was sure able to ratchet up the pressure on Minnesota. This time around, the Lions need to find a way to sack Kirk Cousins a few more times and inflict more damage on the pocket. Cousins was intercepted in the game and also didn’t have a great day only throwing for 275 yards in the contest. Charles Harris was one of the players who generated the sack, and he will have to be very active during the game for the Lions to have a chance at winning.

Detroit’s pass rush has disappeared at times, but it helped them nearly pull an upset the last time around. It could once again be useful for the team as it relates to finding a win.

Alexander Mattison vs. Lions’ Defensive Line

Detroit’s defense is facing a similar situation to the one they did the last time, when Dalvin Cook missed the game with injury. In Week 5, Alexander Mattison was a very capable replacement, rushing for 113 yards while also going for 40 yards through the air and a score. That kind of production was big for a backup, and the Lions need to find a way to do a better job on Mattison this time around to prevent such an outburst.

Here’s a look at his day:

Alexander Mattison Highlights from Week 5 | Minnesota VikingsCheck out Alexander Mattison's best plays from the Week 5 matchup against the Detroit Lions. #MinnesotaVikings #AlexanderMattison #Vikings #NFL #MN #Football #Skol Subscribe to the Minnesota Vikings YT Channel: For more Vikings videos: For more Vikings action: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Follow us on Instagram:…2021-10-10T20:52:39Z

Detroit’s defense has been a bit tougher in recent weeks, so they will have to find a way to win this matchup against Mattison. He stood up and did a nice job in Week 5, but the Lions have to have the tape and get ready for him this time around.

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